Chess Edinburgh lewischessmen2-75h 

Chandler Cornered

The Elgin Marbles

The Elgin Marbles are back in the news.
The Greeks have wanted them back since the looter Lord Elgin
nicked them in the early 1800's and sold them to the British Museum.

I tell you half of the stuff in the British Museum has either
been mis-identified, as is the case of the Firth of Forth Game Pieces
(known laughingly as the Lewis Chessmen). Or it does not belong to them.

Quick recap on the 'Lewis Chessmen'
Not one shred of evidence supports the statement they came from Lewis.
Not one fact.

The minutes of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland clearly state they
express severe doubt that the pieces may not have come from the Isle of Lewis.

There are Viking graves in the Firth of Forth and grave robbing was
rife in Edinburgh in the 1820's. So much so that guard towers were
built at graveyards. So the robbers went elsewhere looking for booty.

Some of the carvings on the back of these
pieces match up with the designs
on the Viking graves on the Firth of Forth.

The pieces were first presented to the S.A.S.
in 1826 saying they were dug up in Roxburgh and
belonged to Bonnie Prince Charlie.

They came to light again as chess pieces
following the publicity of the Edinburgh v London
match in 1828.
(the book of the event was written by William Lewis)

The pieces are all white (some were dyed red in 1828).
The Bishop was not introduced to Chess till the 15th century.

On and on it goes.
They are scared to admit they are wrong in case they
have to refund all money taken for the Lewis Chessmen.

Back to the The Elgin Marbles.
Well for a start they should be called the Parthenon Marbles and not
named after the vandal that stole them. Here is what they look like.

They seem in a pretty bad state, did Elgin do this?

Though to be fair if the statues had not been torn from their bases
then they would have been destroyed by peasants, looters or simply the weather.
One of the figures Elgin left behind has been all but obliterated by acid rain.

What interests us is the horses head.

Nathaniel Cook, who designed the Staunton Chessmen which is taken as the
standard design for chess pieces throughout the world, based the design for
the Knight on the horses head carved on the Parthenon Marbles.

(it was Phidias who carved the Parthenon Marbles, though you probably knew that.)

I actually have a genuine Staunton set.

So that brings me onto this.

(The wrong picture.....Ed)

So that brings me onto this.

Which has in the introduction this quote.

So just to prove Reinfeld wrong here is a good Howard Staunton game from 1842.

[Click here to replay the game]
J.Cochrane - H.Staunton

1.e4 c5 2.Bc4 e6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.e5 Nge7 5.Nc3 Ng6 6.Qe2 Nf4 7.Qe4 g5 8.g3 d5 9.exd6 f5

OK it was only 9 moves. But it was a good 9 moves.

Let us finish with The Elgin Marbles.
Here is a game with a humerous finish v Mr Elgin played in 2000.

[Click here to replay the game]
G.Elgin - A.Dokoutchaev

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.Ngf3 cxd4 6.Bc4 Qd6 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Nb3 Nc6 9.Nbxd4 Nxd4 10.Qxd4 Qxd4 11.Nxd4 Bd7 12.Nb5 Rc8 13.Bd3 a6 14.Nd4 Bc5 15.Nf3 Bc6 16.Ne5 Bd5 17.a3 Ke7 18.c4 Be4 19.Bg5 Bxd3 20.Nxd3 Rhd8 21.Nxc5 Rxc5 22.Bxf6+ Kxf6 23.Rfc1 Rdc8 24.b3 b5 25.Ra2 bxc4 26.Rac2 cxb3 27.Rxc5 Rxc5 28.Rxc5 b2

Lovely finsh.

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